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Don't ever give up on your dreams

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By Emily LaForme

Nothing makes me more excited for people than when I see them going after their dreams. I am so lucky that my line of work gives me the opportunity to see every day people reaching out for what they want and either getting a hold of it, or are coming pretty close to finally getting there. I’ve met a lot of people lately that truly inspire me by the determination they have, enough that it often brings tears to my eyes. 

Ernie “Turtleman” Brown Jr., and Layla Spring. They saw something they wanted, and they worked hard, and are still working hard, to reach their dreams and more. If you talk to either of them, you’ll hear the excitement in their voices, and it’s pretty close to impossible not to feel proud of them. 

I can’t believe how lucky I am, myself, for having reached a dream that I worked for and thought of every single day for years and years. Just in the fall I was finishing up at school, and the end and graduation was so close I could taste it, and it was such an exciting time. Sometimes I think I forget about how awesome this truly is, and it’s taken some reminders from other dream-seekers for me to remember just how great this feeling of reaching the top of the mountain is. 

There was a time where I gave up on my dream of being a journalist. In middle school I wanted to write for a fashion magazine, and in high school I decided I rather liked newspapers. 

I remember the moment I gave up very vividly. It was Christmas, and a family member was talking about his own career as a journalist… albeit a failed one, due to a series of mistakes he made, and he told me I would never make it. 

“Journalism is dead,” he told me. 

I was crushed. Visibly. While I didn’t say anything, didn’t stick up for myself, ask questions, anything, it was a scenario that kept playing over and over in my head. I was doubting my abilities, and I felt foolish. There was no exact moment of change, but over the course of completing high school and getting into college, I had turned away from journalism.

I tried my hand at art, and while I loved it, I didn’t want to make a living off it. I tried my hand at teaching, more so being an English teacher, and it didn’t feel right either. Fortunately for me, luck was on my side and I ended up in an intro to journalism elective. I was both in awe of— and a little terrified of my professor, a real life journalist, who wasn’t bitter and certainly didn’t think journalism was dead. He kicked my butt, covered my stories in red ink, and pushed me. I went on my first ever interview, which went well, and I called my mom and cried. I became a journalism major the next day, and the rest, you could say, is history.

Except it wasn’t exactly that easy, even then. Dreams aren’t easy. I worked and worked. It was hard. I’ve cried a lot, laughed a lot, got spitting mad, but it’s always been worth it.

You see, journalism never was dead, I just let someone tell me it was, and I believed him. In life, there are going to be people who tell you that you can’t do things, or the thing that you want more than anything is wrong or stupid, or that you’re better off doing anything else. You can’t listen to them, because all you’ll end up doing is settling. 

I’ve met some “older” dreamers and I’ve met some “younger” dreamers. Dreamers who were told it was crazy, or they weren’t good enough, or had people try to tell them to settle for something close enough. And, I’ve met dreamers who reached the top of the mountain only to decide they wanted to go higher. 

C. S. Lewis said: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” 

Unfortunately, I’ve met some people who gave up on their dreams. I know them very well, and it’s one of the saddest things in the world. The saddest part is that it’s not too late for them, but they don’t realize that. 

If you’ve read this far, and maybe it got you thinking, and you whispered to yourself: “me too,” I want you to do something for me. I want you to give yourself a chance. If it’s age, or time, or money holding you back, well…the time it takes to get there is going to pass anyway, as my mom always says, and if you truly want something, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. 

For what it’s worth, I’ll believe in you if you need me to, and I’m sure Layla and Turtleman will, too.